Extreme ecosystem instability suppressed tropical dinosaur dominance for 30 million years

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • J.H. Whiteside
  • Lindström, Malin Sofie
  • R.B. Irmis
  • I.J. Glasspool
  • M.F. Schaller
  • M. Dunlavey
  • S.J. Nesbitt
  • N.D. Smith
  • A.H. Turner
A major unresolved aspect of the rise of dinosaurs is why early dinosaurs and their relatives were rare and species-poor at low paleolatitudes throughout the Late Triassic Period, a pattern persisting 30 million years after their origin and 10–15 million years after they became abundant and speciose at higher latitudes. New palynological, wildfire, organic carbon isotope, and atmospheric pCO2 data from early dinosaur-bearing strata of low paleolatitudes in western North America show that large, high-frequency, tightly correlated variations in δ13Corg and palynomorph ecotypes occurred within a context of elevated and increasing pCO2 and pervasive wildfires. Whereas pseudosuchian archosaur-dominated communities were able to persist in these same regions under rapidly fluctuating extreme climatic conditions until the end-Triassic, large-bodied, fast-growing tachymetabolic dinosaurian herbivores requiring greater resources were unable to adapt to unstable high CO2 environmental conditions of the Late Triassic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ID: 290263595